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          The International Skydiving Museum & Hall of Fame is proud to honor the 1988 Seoul Olympic Skydiving Exhibition Team with the museum’s inaugural Path of Excellence Award. The presentation will be made at the 2018 Hall of Fame Celebration at Skydive City, Zephyrhills, Florida, on Friday afternoon, November 2, prior to the Welcome BBQ.  There will also be a tribute jump honoring the awardee.

          Many groups, companies and teams have played a prominent role in the growth and development of our sport with their exceptional contribution in the form of innovation, performance, leadership, education, sponsorship, camaraderie and/or philanthropy making them worthy of special recognition. The Path of Excellence Award is specifically for entities – groups, companies, organizations or teams for significant contribution(s) of enduring high value to the world of skydiving and is a prestigious award in both name and distinction.

          In 1988, the world's perception of skydiving was permanently altered for the better when the Seoul Olympic Skydiving Exhibition Team performed a skydiving exhibition as part of the Opening Ceremony of the Games of the XXIV Olympiad in Seoul, South Korea that thrilled the crowds and was viewed by an estimated 1.6 billion viewers in 160 countries.

          The exhibition started with National Accuracy champions from around the world and the Korean Army Parachute Team performing a no-contact canopy formation gliding with precise coordination toward the Olympic stadium with their colorful Olympic parachute canopies and gold lamé jumpsuits.  Just as the first accuracy performer entered the stadium, the rings team exited from a helicopter 11,000 feet above.

          Then what may be the most famous freefall formation ever watched was the perfectly created five-colored Olympic rings above the Olympiad stadium. That extraordinary jump, more than any other skydive before, helped to change the world's perception of skydiving. The precision demonstrated by the team helped to forever set aside the idea that skydivers plummet uncontrollably toward the earth. A beautiful photo of the team's masterful creation was even featured in Time magazine. The jump also represented an amazing technological advance being the first transmission of live images originating from a freefall videographer broadcast worldwide.

           The rings formation consisted of 30 jumpers with six each in the Olympic colors of blue, black, red, yellow and green. After completing the rings formation in 22 seconds, the team – comprised primarily of national and world champions – rotated the entire formation so that the presidents of South Korea and the IOC could view the Olympic design in the proper orientation from their seats in the Olympic stadium.  World-renowned freefall videographers and photographers documented this memorable performance by the rings team. To see more images from Tom Sanders, go to https://aerialfocus.smugmug.com/SKYDIVING/1988-Seoul-Olympic-Skydiving-Exhibition-Team/

          Award nominees are voted on by supporters of the museum including ambassadors, counselors, trustees, members of the Hall of Fame, and major donors.  The presentation will be made at the 2018 Hall of Fame Celebration at Skydive City, Zephyrhills, Florida, on Friday afternoon, November 2, prior to the Welcome BBQ.  There will also be a tribute jump honoring the awardee.

          Since 2010, as part of the International Skydiving Museum & Hall of Fame awareness and fund raising efforts, the museum has held an annual weekend event celebrating the sport and history of skydiving.  “The Celebration is an exciting and prestigious three day event that brings generations of skydivers together. The Celebration honors the glory days of our past and showcases the marvels of today’s equipment and skydiving skill of today’s superstars and inspires younger jumpers to make their mark,” said James F. Curtis III, President/CEO of the Board of Trustees for the museum.  

           This year’s Celebration will feature a 10-Way Speed STAR WARS competition, a For the Legends Freestyle Canopy Piloting Meet, Jumpers Over Seventy (JOS) Record Attempts, a SkyHigh Forum featuring Col. Joe Kittinger (Ret), Art Thompson, Alan Eustace, and Luke Aikins, a Canopy Piloting Forum with Greg Windmiller, a Pioneers Lunch sponsored by Strong Enterprises and much more. After a weekend of skydiving activities and non-skydiving activities that has something for everyone, the International Skydiving Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will take center stage continuing the tradition of honoring legends, leaders and pioneers of our sport.  This year’s inductees are Ray Cottingham, Daryl Henry, Suzie Joerns, Leslie Irvin, Dom Jalbert, Coy McDonald, Roger Ponce de Leon, Jay Stokes, Tony Uragallo, and Henny Wiggers.   More than 300 skydiving enthusiasts from around the world will be in attendance at the fundraiser which is expected to raise more than $100,000 for the museum.